Pretoria - A war on corruption and ensuring that the city centre becomes an economic hub which is clean and safe – these are just a few of the key items on DA mayoral candidate Solly Msimanga's agenda should he become the mayor of the capital city come August 3.
The young politician, who rose quickly in the DA ranks after joining the party in 2009, said he planned on running Tshwane like a well-oiled machine.
Dressed in a blue leather jacket, true to his party's colours, Msimanga took time out from his busy campaign schedule to chat with News24.
While he may lack experience compared to his counterpart, ANC mayoral candidate Thoko Didiza, Msimanga said that unlike Didiza, he knows what the people of the city want and need.
"People want someone who they can resonate with that understands the culture, the way the city moves and I don’t think she has that... I understand what this city wants and I think we will be able to get this city where it needs to go," a confident Msimanga told News24.
A father of two and a devout Christian, Msimanga said his church and family keep him centred.
"It centres one. There is something that is directing you, that is guiding you. My family and religion is a pillar of strength," he said.
Having worked in the corporate world, which afforded him the space to travel internationally, he said this made him particularly eligible for the mayoral position.
"Having travelled around the world gives me a glimpse of how governments should work. If I don’t do it, I will regret not doing it. I look at my two boys and think of what kind of country I would like to leave for them. I would rather fail trying than not having tried at all," he said.
Run city like a CEO
Msimanga said he planned on running the city like the CEO of a major conglomerate.
“I am saying to the board of directors which are the residents, the business people, the stakeholders of the city that I want to sign an agreement with... the agreement is to develop this city but also deliver... If I cannot deliver to you, you have a right to fire me."
He said his key focus areas would be to end corruption through sorting out procurement issues in the city.
Tshwane should becomea knowledge-based economy, Msimanga said.
"We need to start by building private business so that employment can also start increasing in the city... There is a number of sectors I have identified.
"We have the biggest concentration of embassies and institutions of higher learning.We can be number one when it comes to a knowledge economy. We have the biggest concentration of people coming here for higher learning. What are we doing to enhance a knowledge economy?" he said.
Wonderboom a logistics airport?
Msimanga would also like to convert Wonderboom Airport into a logistics airport.
"We already have industrial sites around it; convert it into a logistics airport and then make sure it becomes more attractive for people to invest were they can get their produce and goods in and out of the city or the country in a short space of time... already we have the infrastructure in place. We just need to channel this and create sustainable employment," he said.
Regarding a coalition should the party fail to get an outright win in Tshwane, Msimanga said he would not be part of coalitions that compromised his morality and that of the DA.
"I said that if we are going to start any negotiations of any kind with anybody it should be on the basis of us not compromising on our principles and on our core offer. There are certain things I will not compromise on and anybody who wants to negotiate with us will need to agree upfront."
Msimanga was elected as the DA Gauteng chairperson in 2014. He became a councillor in Tshwane in 2011 and shortly after that was elected as the chairperson of its North Gauteng branch.
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